Lorde's ( A Burst of Light ) poems have always melded the political and lyrical worlds, the ordinary and the luminous, addressing controversial topics that she struggled with as a black lesbian poet, and the work in The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance is no exception. These poems are reminders of her characteristic themes, from ecstatic poems of love and self-discovery to others grappling with cancer and the fear of death. The work here enhances Lorde's tradition of clipped, sparse lines that turn unexpectedly from one subject to another, and of arresting and often unabashedly political imagery. Some of the poetry about death is haunting, as in the last stanza of ``Speechless:'' ``Death / folds the corners of my mouth / into a heart-shaped star / sits on my tongue like a stone / around which your name blossoms / distorted.'' Or in ``Restoration: A Memorial--9/18/91,'' a poem describing the aftermath of hurricane Hugo, which devastated the house Lorde lived in, but was written from another continent, where she was undergoing chemotherapy: ``In this alien and temporary haven / my poisoned fingers / slowly return to normal / I read your letter dreaming / the perspective of a bluefish / or a fugitive parrot.'' (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993 Release date: 09/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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